Angels 101

Posted by Lillian Putnam on

So, what do you picture when you think of the word “Angel”? Maybe a cute chubby little baby with wings comes to mind; or a tall brooding figure with enormous wings carrying a message. There are also many that consider them human looking, like us, made in the image and likeness of...

The Wisest Thing You Can Do

Posted by S. Naomi King on

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!”   Proverbs 4:7 Solomon makes a good point. Knowledge is pretty easy to come by, especially in our day and age. Don’t know something? Google it. Confused on a subject? Look it up on Bing. Questions? Ask Yahoo. The...

The Patience of Job

Posted by S. Naomi King on

Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience...

Don’t Look Down on Me

Posted by S. Naomi King on

Have you ever felt like your age gets in the way of experiencing something big, or doing something important? Have you ever been treated a certain way, or not trusted to handle responsibility because you’re too young? You might even feel like because of your age, you can’t really do...

Happy New Year!

Posted by S. Naomi King on

As 2018 approaches, the whole world celebrates the coming of a new year, and with that, comes New Year’s resolutions. The whole point of making resolutions is to become a better person in some way, which might mean losing a bad habit, or making better habits, or anything along those lines...

Angels 101

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So, what do you picture when you think of the word “Angel”? Maybe a cute chubby little baby with wings comes to mind; or a tall brooding figure with enormous wings carrying a message. There are also many that consider them human looking, like us, made in the image and likeness of God. Except that isn't exactly accurate to what they really look like according to what we know based off the Bible. So without further ado, let’s myth bust the common person's’ perception of angels.

Fact 1

Did you know 68% of Americans say that they believe in both angels and demons? Many actually only believe in  one or the other.

Myth 1

“Angels always have wings, how else would they be able to get places so quickly?”

Nope, contrary to what most modern Christians believe, angels having wings have never been absolutely proven in the Bible, actually quite the opposite. Here’s a verse that describes angels as something else.

Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Spirits? Spirits don’t exactly have wings, so this actually points more to them appearing like a spectra would. However i’m sure many are already asking, “But what about the quotes claiming angels have wings?” Here’s the thing, the quotes mentioning this concept do have context such as the quote:

Isaiah 6:2 - Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

As you may already be able to tell, the way this is stated doesn’t seem to claim that the wings were attached to them, but rather it was something that appeared with  them. Humans, always look for normality, and with the way Isaiah claimed he did fly, its possible these creatures showed themselves to him in a way that seemed logical, for them simply appearing in their real form he may of mistaken them for something other than God’s angels. More than likely, the reason they can get to people so quickly is because they appear rather than fly, and the wings are more of a human visualization of what they should look like. That actually brings us to our second myth.

Myth 2

“Don’t angels look just like humans?”

Not necessarily, because like prior mentioned, angels take on appearances that make them less threatening to humans. What’s less threatening to a human than another human? Most likely, angels are like energy, which would also explain why some people feel like angels are around, but they don’t appear right in front of you. Angels already have abilities far greater than any person, and whenever mentioned in the Bible one important word is always stated: “Appeared.” This word, as mentioned before, isn’t stating that angels looked like humans, but rather that’s how they appeared to them. We can see this in the quote:

Luke 1:11-20 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.

Appeared, once again is repeated here, and  remember how context is absolutely everything. The Bible has been written to perfection, and it is stated that every word written down in that book was influenced by God himself. Every word. Appeared, was a precise word choice, and it wasn’t by chance in the slightest. God created us in his image, to his greatest extent. Remember, God originally created us in Eden without sin, however the tree also gave us humans practically every critical thought. Angels, are probably a step above humans, and are closer to God than humans in the aspect of being without sin. They resemble God in their flawlessness. If this were a test on how closely linked image wise angels were to God compared to humans, based off biblical text we can guess angels are 80% and humans are 50%. Angels, do not have the same power as God himself, as seen when God damned the devil to hell. No one can outmatch God. The main difference between us and angels is that humans sinned and ate the fruit, angels did not.

Fact  2

Did you know that the devil was once an angel? He was banished when he attempted to overthrow God.

 

Well, angels are a confusing bunch. The same faith that we put in God, we can put in his messengers. After all, they come from one of the same. Angels, throughout the Bible have been crucial to help give and receive messages to and from the Lord. The main reason that this is important is because they deserve to be talked about and remembered. Many say they believe in God, yet they do not believe in angels. Like prior mentioned they are a key to many bible stories, like with the angel Gabriel and the good news he gave Mary. They matter. Without them, many may of been intimidated by the gospel. They mimicked humans appearance to seem less frightening at first glance, so that people would come to them.

People in my life, and those in yours will mention angels, I promise you. Now when they ask you these things, you’ll be equipped with the answers! Oh, and if you’re wondering why there are only two myths here, I’m planning on making this a series on angels, demons, and some figures in the Bible, so you can be prepared for these common questions.

 

Have a suggestion for the next blog? Please email me at

Posted by Lillian Putnam with

Anxiety and Loneliness : How to cope through God’s word

Have you ever felt yourself begin to listen to your thoughts too much? No matter how hard you try, you can’t get your mind off that bad test grade, or maybe that recent breakup. No matter the reason, those thoughts can quickly can turn into an extremely negative headspace. Sometimes we as humans naturally look at the negative before the positive, and that can lead to anxiety. Whenever we feel anxious, we can also turn to isolation which only furthers our irrational worries and makes things worse.

So how can we break the cycle?

It can be hard to pinpoint, but a great start is to begin with the Lord’s word, at least that’s a great start to lessening your overall anxiety. Here are some good tactics when it comes to curing anxiety through Jesus.

Step One: Focus your attention on Jesus first

This may seem very simple at an initial glances, all you have to do for this step is to focus right?

This isn’t as simple as it appears because it requires you to change your thinking entirely. You may be a Christian, but that doesn’t mean you too don’t struggle with relaxing and just thinking about the gospel. Try this small exercise to get yourself in the right mindset. Close your eyes, and breathe in slowly. When you do this, think about those worries that were bothering you. When you breathe out, say to yourself, “Jesus calms me.” It may seem silly, but it does work.

Repeat this enough times until you’ve completely focused on Jesus. Remember, it’s okay to be uncomfortable at first, because as humans we desperately don’t want to lose control, but it’s important to lift your concerns up to God because it will greatly calm your mood. Once you’ve done this we can move on to the next step

Step Two: Using the gospel

Whenever we feel anxious, it could be a great help just to sit down and listen to the word of God for a while. The Lord talks to us all the time through his words, and this is no exception.

Remember when you do this, it’s always a great step to find somewhere quiet to think. Then open up your bible app or physical book and just start reading! Books I suggest for helping calm stress would be James, Luke, and Psalms, however you can definitely pick whatever book you like. Remember the first step, and just keep yourself focused on what you’re reading and hearing. Analyze it. The goal here to take your mind off of your stress. In most cases you might just find God has already given an answer to your problem. Again, the key to this is to keep yourself focused on nothing but the Lord.

Step Three : Record and remember it!

Now for the final step.

For this all you really need is to take notes, on your phone or on paper. Once you’ve listened to the message, record what resonated with you most. Write it down. Absolutely anything you’d want to remember for later. This could be a certain word or phrase that just connected with you in some way, really anything works.

Continue to do this each time you listen to or read the word. Keep this book with you at all times. Whenever you feel yourself feeling like you’re on the brink or anxiety starts to get to you, look at your quote book. Reread those words of encouragement, it’ll lighten your mood and remind you he’s there for you always. It’s the most important message you’ll ever learn.

With that in mind, you’ll improve your stress level in no time!

The Wisest Thing You Can Do

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Getting wisdom is
the wisest thing you can do!”  

Proverbs 4:7

Solomon makes a good point.

Knowledge is pretty easy to come by, especially in our day and age. Don’t know something? Google it. Confused on a subject? Look it up on Bing. Questions? Ask Yahoo. The whole point of search engines is to inform you about stuff you don’t know, making you more knowledgeable.

Sure, search engines, internet, and Siri can make you smarter, but there’s something a man-made program cannot make you, and that’s wise. But what is the difference between knowledge and wisdom anyway? Is there one? I’m glad you asked, because here’s an example coming your way:

Knowledge:

Little Freddy was playing ultimate croquet outside, when he heard a sudden roar of thunder. He looked up to the sky, and saw that above his head hung dark clouds. He had the knowledge that this meant a storm was coming, but shrugging off the weather, Little Freddy continued his game. Once the storm came, the rain made Little Freddy shiver from being cold and wet, he became covered in mud from head to toe, and the thunder and lightning sent him running scared.

Wisdom:

Old Man Rutherford was out in his yard building a birdhouse when he heard a sudden roar of thunder. He looked up to the sky, and above his head he saw the same dark clouds Little Freddy saw. Old Man Rutherford had the knowledge that this meant a storm was coming, so using wisdom, he picked up his cat and headed inside.

Get the idea? Knowledge is knowing stuff, but wisdom is putting that knowledge into practice accordingly. But then where do we get wisdom?

The wisdom given to us from the world comes from man, and therefore can only be as wise as man…so, not that great. First Corinthians 3:19 even goes as far as to say that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.” This verse is saying that man’s wisdom is pretty much trash, but it’s also saying that the magnitude of God’s wisdom is something we can’t even begin to fathom.

Daniel 2:20 says, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power,” and Romans 11:33 says,“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” God doesn’t just have wisdom; wisdom belongs to Him. He is the ultimate source of it. Wisdom is His and He has all of it! Awesome, right?

But pay attention to the last bit of the verse, the part that says: “How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!” Sometimes, when life isn’t going our way, we question why God would let something bad happen to us or someone else. It’s important to remember that God’s wisdom beyond human understanding, and because of that, we’re not always going to understand why God does what He does. But that’s not our job. Our job is to have faith in Him, and remember that He is our loving Heavenly Father, using wisdom to do what is best, even what it doesn’t seem like it to us humans.

So how do we get God’s wisdom? The same way we get most things: ask for it. James 1:5 says it clearly. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Just look at King Solomon. He asked God for wisdom, and according to 1 Kings 4:30, “his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt.” God didn’t give Solomon wisdom because he had earned or deserved it, but because he asked for it. It’s as simple as that. God will give you wisdom if you ask for it, so really you just have to remember to!

Pray for wisdom in day-to-day life. Every day we’re given some sort of challenge, whether that’s taking a test, giving a speech, or even getting through challenges that pop up without you planning on them. I encourage you to pray for wisdom when you’re faced with any kind of challenge, from how to respond to a bully, to where you want to stop for food. Pray for wisdom before going to class, when you first wake up, and even before bed for the next day. Pray for wisdom before you open your mouth!

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Solomon’s Nugget:Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” Proverbs 3:13-18

Posted by S. Naomi King with

The Patience of Job

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Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience, trust me, I get it. (By the way, this post isn’t about Job; I don’t have anything to say about him, I just thought it was a good title).

But the Bible does have a lot to say about patience and why it’s important.

God is patient with us.

1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love, and 1 Corinthians 13 (also known as the love chapter in the Bible) teaches us that God’s patience is an expression of that love, and that we ought to love in the same way, and how we can do so. The chapter literally starts off with: “Love is patient, love is kind…” So when I’m angrily waiting for someone to get to their point, or if I’m wanting to pummel someone for holding me up on something, I have to ask myself: Am I being loving? And when these thoughts creep into my head, most of the time, the answer is no. This is not what God wants for me, because I should always seek to be an expression of God’s love; therefore I should be patient just as He is patient with me.

God is patient with unbelievers.

God showed His great love for us by sending His perfect Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Anyone who believes and accepts His sacrifice has been forgiven, and has eternal life. Jesus has promised to return for us who believe, but do you ever wonder what’s taking Him so long to come back?

2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 

God is giving unbelievers time to believe in His Son Jesus, and commit their lives to Him. Aren’t you glad that the Second Coming didn’t happen before you became a Christian? Aren’t you glad that God is patient?

Since God is patient with us, we need to be patient with others.

Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” So when your sister is taking too long in the bathroom, or when you feel your friend just wants to argue and not let you speak, or when someone is standing unusually and uncomfortably close to you and it’s making you crazy, you’ll need to consider your reaction. Don’t throw a shoe at your sister, that’s not gentle. Don’t throw an elbow at someone in your personal space, that’s not being humble or gentle either. Pray and be patient, because after all, God is patient with us.

Are there times when we need to be patient with God?

Well let’s see, have you ever prayed that there will be peace in your household but things only seem to get worse? Have you ever prayed that a friend will heal but they never seem to get better? Have you ever prayed for a loved one’s salvation but they only seem to get farther away from God? These are all times when waiting on God can be extremely difficult. So yes, there are times when we need to be patient with God.

If you feel yourself getting impatient with the Lord after a few days, weeks, months, or even years, I find it humbling to look at the poor saps in the Old Testament. The Israelites had to wait hundreds upon hundreds of years for a Messiah, and some even doubted that He’d ever come!

And look at John the Baptizer in the New Testament. After he baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him to be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, while he was in prison, John doubted if Jesus really was the Messiah. Jesus told John to look at the things that He was doing. We should do the same thing. Look at all that Jesus has done in your life and in the lives of other believers around you. Remember the prayers that you know He has answered in the past. These are proof that God keeps His promises. 1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us." So have patience, because God hears your prayers and He will answer them.

Naomi’s Nugget: God has a reason for everything. Psalm 37:7 says: “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” If you feel like God is taking forever to answer your prayer, know that His timing is perfect, and that all is going according to His plan. Just be patient.

The Devil Made Me Do It

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Little Freddy was playing ultimate hop-scotch when he saw Old Man Rutherford had placed a fresh baked pie on his windowsill to cool. Little Freddy knew he had no reason to go near the pie, but he was tempted to take the tantalizing treat, so he gave in and snuck the pie off the windowsill anyway, and ate it in a nearby bush.

It didn’t take long for Old Man Rutherford to notice his missing pie, so after investigating the crime scene, he noticed a trail of apple jelly that led all the way to Little Freddy eating the pie in the bushes, caught red handed. When Old Man Rutherford asked Little Freddy why he would take the pie even though he knew he shouldn’t have, Little Freddy replied: “The Devil made me do it!”

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” But even when we are made new, there is still that temptation that tries to get us back into our old selves. The Bible calls it our sinful nature. This sinful nature is in direct conflict with the Holy Spirit, but to delve further into this, I’m going to hand the mic to the Apostle Paul, who in Romans 8:5-14 says:

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

Paul states it plain and simple, doesn’t he?

  1. Following the sinful nature only leads to wickedness and death.
  2. Following the Holy Spirit only leads to righteousness, peace, and life.
  3. If you are a child of God (someone who has accepted Jesus Christ in their heart as their Lord and Savior) you can resist the sinful nature because you have the Spirit of God living in you.

So how do we resist the sinful nature? We live our lives following the Holy Spirit’s leading. Here are some ways to do that:

Get alone with God and talk to Him.

Having one on one time with anyone helps you get to know that person. Think about your peers, for example. There are some friends that you enjoy spending time with at school and Collide, but then there are others that you want to have one-on-one time with because that way its more special, bringing you closer in your relationship with them by focusing in on the lives of the two of you.

The way we stay connected to our closest relationships is the same way we stay connected with the Spirit. Remember that even the Son of God, while on Earth, separated Himself to spend some time alone talking with God the Father (Mark 1:35). (No rap session is one sided either, so make sure you listen to what the Spirit has to say as well!) Getting alone with God is one way to follow after and be led by the Holy Spirit.

Get alone with God and read His Word.

Words are how we communicate, after all. The Spirit will speak to you through the Bible, revealing truths about God, what He likes, what He doesn’t like, what He’s done, what He has planned for you, how He wants to use you, how much He loves you, and so on! Reading the Bible is how we get to know more about God, which, like in all relationships, brings us closer to Him. The more you read His Word, the more you will know Him. The more you know Him, the more you will follow and be led by the Spirit.

Talk to God all throughout your day.

When you’re constantly communicating with anyone, you know what they’ve been up to, what their desires are, what pleases them and what doesn’t. The same is true with prayer. Get into the habit of praying before making decisions, big and small. Talk to the Lord about what college you should enter, what job or class you take, or what to say to a friend, family member or stranger. Ask God to lead you in every choice you make. If you take time out to silently talk to God when someone is doing or saying something to upset you, the Holy Spirit will give you just the right thing to say or do in response. Talking to God all throughout the day and including Him in every aspect of your life is what following after and being led by the Spirit looks like!

Naomi’s Nugget: In verse 9 of Romans 8, Paul said: “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” Remember that! You have been given free will by God, which means you have a choice in whether you will choose the sinful nature or the Spirit. And if you’re a Christian struggling with something of the sinful nature, remember that you are not alone in the fight, the Holy Spirit is in you. He will counsel, encourage and empower you. The Devil can’t make you do anything.

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